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JUDICIARY

DIAZ VS CA (1994)
FACTS
- January 23, 1991: Davao Light and Power Company, Inc. (DLPC) filed
with the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) an application for the approval of
the sound value appraisal of its property in service.
- Asian Appraisal Company valued the property and equipment of DLPC
P1,141,774,000.00 as of March 1990
- December 1992: ERB approved application of DLPC, but deducted
P14,800,000.00 worth of property and equipment not used in DLPCs
operations
- Petitioners filed a petition for review on certiorari before SC, assailing the
decision of ERB on the ground of lock of jurisdiction and/or grave abuse of
discretion.
- SC Resolution referred the case to the CA, which dismissed the petition
based on the following grounds:
o Filing the petition for review with the SC was the wrong mode
of appeal
o Noncompliance of petition with Supreme Court Circular 1-88:
a. Did not state the date when petitioners received the
ERB decision
b. Did not state the date when they filed for a MR
c. Inconsistently alleged different dates when they
supposedly received the denial of their motion by
ERB
- Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration contending that the SC
resolution was a directive for the CA to disregard the above circular.
Denied by CA
- Case brought before SC
ISSUES
1. Whether or not the petitioners were correct in bringing their appeal
from the ERB directly to the SC
2. Whether or not the SC resolution was a directive for the CA to
disregard 1-88
RULING
1. NO. The Petition was DISMISSED
o The Sec. 30, Art Vi of the 1987 Constitution provides that No law
shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and
concurrence.
o May 1987 EO No. 172 was passed, creating the Energy
Regulatory Board to replace the Board of Energy. Sec. 10 provides
that a party adversely affected by a decision, order, or ruling of
the Board.may file a petition to be known as petition for review
with the Supreme Court.
o February 1992 SC Circular No. 1-01. Provides that the proper
mode of appeal from any quasi-judicial agency (including ERB) is
by way of a petition for review with the CA.
o Since Sec. 10 of EO No. 172 was enacted without the advice or
concurrence of the SC, this provision never became effective.
Therefore, the mode of appeal should be based on SC Circular No.
1-91.
2. NO. SC Circular No. 2-90 states that an appeal taken to the SC or CA
by the wrong/inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. The SC ruled that its
regerral of the case to the CA was not a directive to disregard the
circulars, but the resolution could only mean that the court was disposing
of the subject petition in conformity with the circular (since the circulars
stated that the CA has jurisdiction of the case, the CA should be the court
to dismiss it, and the SC was merely passing the case on in conformity
with the rules set by said circulars)

CHAVEZ vs JBC (2013)

Facts:

The petitioner, former Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez, challenged the constitutionality
of the 2 members of congress sitting as representatives to the JBC. Respondents, Judicial
and Bar Council, Sen. Francis Joseph G. Escudero and Rep. Niel C. Tupas Jr. contends that
the phrase, a representative of congress refers to both houses of congress and should
have one representative from the senate and one representative from the house of
representatives, and that these two houses are permanent and mandatory components of
congress as part of the bicameral system of legislature. Both houses have their respective
powers in performance of their duties. Art. VIII, Sec 8, of the 1987 constitution provides for
the components of the JBC to have 7 members only, with only one representative from
congress. In particular, the specific provision in the constitution provides that, A Judicial
and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed of
the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of
the Congress as ex officio Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of
law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector. In
compliance therewith, Congress, from the moment of the creation of the JBC, designated
one representative from the Congress to sit in the JBC to act as one of the ex officio
members.

In 1994 however, the composition of the JBC was substantially altered. Instead of having
only seven (7) members, an eighth (8th) member was added to the JBC as two (2)
representatives from Congress began sitting in the JBC one from the House of
Representatives and one from the Senate, with each having one-half (1/2) of a vote. During
the existence of the case, Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero and Congressman Niel C.
Tupas, Jr. (respondents) simultaneously sat in JBC as representatives of the legislature.

It is this practice that petitioner has questioned in this petition.

Issue:

WON JBCs practice of having 2 members, 1 from the Senate and 1 from the House of
Representatives is unconstitutional and defeats the letter and spirit as mandated in Art VIII,
Sec 8 of the 1987 constitution.
Held:

Yes. From a simple reading of the above-quoted provision, it can readily be
discerned that the provision is clear and unambiguous. The first paragraph calls for
the creation of a JBC and places the same under the supervision of the Court. Then it goes
to its composition where the regular members are enumerated: a representative of the
Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired member of the Court and a representative from
the private sector. On the second part lies the crux of the present controversy. It
enumerates the ex officio or special members of the JBC composed of the Chief Justice, who
shall be its Chairman, the Secretary of Justice and "a representative of Congress."
As petitioner correctly posits, the use of the singular letter "a" preceding "representative of
Congress" is unequivocal and leaves no room for any other construction. It is indicative of
what the members of the Constitutional Commission had in mind, that is, Congress may
designate only one (1) representative to the JBC. Had it been the intention that more than
one (1) representative from the legislature would sit in the JBC, the Framers could have, in
no uncertain terms, so provided.
One of the primary and basic rules in statutory construction is that where the
words of a statute are clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its
literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. It is a well-settled
principle of constitutional construction that the language employed in the Constitution must
be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. As much as
possible, the words of the Constitution should be understood in the sense they have in
common use. What it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels
acceptance and negates the power of the courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the
framers and the people mean what they say. Verba legis non est recedendum from
the words of a statute there should be no departure.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The current numerical composition of the
Judicial and Bar Council IS declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The Judicial and Bar
Council is hereby enjoined to reconstitute itself so that only one ( 1) member of
Congress will sit as a representative in its proceedings, in accordance with Section
8( 1 ), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.



Re: Petition for Recognition of the Exemption of the Government Service
Insurance System from Payment of Legal Fees
FACTS:

The GSIS seeks exemption from the payment of legal fees imposed on GOCCs under Sec
22, Rule 141 (Legal Fees) of the ROC. The said provision states:

SEC. 22. Government exempt. The Republic of the Philippines, its agencies and
instrumentalities are exempt from paying the legal fees provided in this Rule. Local
government corporations and government-owned or controlled corporations with or without
independent charter are not exempt from paying such fees. xx

The GSIS anchors its petition on Sec 39 of its charter, RA 8291 (The GSIS Act of 1997):
SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien. It is hereby declared to be the
policy of the State that the actuarial solvency of the funds of the GSIS shall be preserved
and maintained at all times and that contribution rates necessary to sustain the benefits
under this Act shall be kept as low as possible in order not to burden the members of the
GSIS and their employers. Taxes imposed on the GSIS tend to impair the actuarial solvency
of its funds and increase the contribution rate necessary to sustain the benefits of this Act.
Accordingly, notwithstanding any laws to the contrary, the GSIS, its assets, revenues
including accruals thereto, and benefits paid, shall be exempt from all taxes, assessments,
fees, charges or duties of all kinds. These exemptions shall continue unless expressly and
specifically revoked and any assessment against the GSIS as of the approval of this Act are
hereby considered paid. Consequently, all laws, ordinances, regulations, issuances, opinions
or jurisprudence contrary to or in derogation of this provision are hereby deemed repealed,
superseded and rendered ineffective and without legal force and effect. xx

Required to comment on the GSIS petition, the OSG maintains that the petition should be
denied. On this Courts order, the Office of the Chief Attorney (OCAT) submitted a report
and recommendation on the petition of the GSIS and the comment of the OSG thereon.
According to the OCAT, the claim of the GSIS for exemption from the payment of legal fees
has no legal basis.

ISSUE: May the legislature exempt the GSIS from legal fees imposed by the Court on
GOCCs and local government units?

HELD: WHEREFORE, the petition of the GSIS for recognition of its exemption from the
payment of legal fees imposed under Sec 22 of Rule 141 of the ROC on GOCCs and LGUs is
hereby DENIED .

NO

Rule 141 (on Legal Fees) of the ROC was promulgated by this Court in the exercise of its
rule-making powers under Sec 5(5), Art VIII of the Constitution:
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
x x x x x x x x x
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,
pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the
Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged.
x x x x x x x x

Clearly, therefore, the payment of legal fees under Rule 141 of the ROC is an integral part
of the rules promulgated by this Court pursuant to its rule-making power under Section
5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution. In particular, it is part of the rules concerning pleading,
practice and procedure in courts. Indeed, payment of legal (or docket) fees is a
jurisdictional requirement.
Since the payment of legal fees is a vital component of the rules promulgated by this Court
concerning pleading, practice and procedure, it cannot be validly annulled, changed or
modified by Congress. As one of the safeguards of this Courts institutional independence,
the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is now the Courts
exclusive domain. That power is no longer shared by this Court with Congress, much less
with the Executive.

NOTES:

-The GSIS cannot successfully invoke the right to social security of government employees
in support of its petition. It is a corporate entity whose personality is separate and distinct
from that of its individual members. The rights of its members are not its rights; its rights,
powers and functions pertain to it solely and are not shared by its members.

-Congress could not have carved out an exemption for the GSIS from the payment of legal
fees without transgressing another equally important institutional safeguard of the Courts
independence fiscal autonomy. Fiscal autonomy recognizes the power and authority of
the Court to levy, assess and collect fees, including legal fees. Moreover, legal fees under
Rule 141 have two basic components, the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and the
Special Allowance for the Judiciary Fund (SAJF). The laws which established the JDF and the
SAJF[33] expressly declare the identical purpose of these funds to guarantee the
independence of the Judiciary as mandated by the Constitution and public policy. Legal fees
therefore do not only constitute a vital source of the Courts financial resources but also
comprise an essential element of the Courts fiscal independence. Any exemption from the
payment of legal fees granted by Congress to government-owned or controlled corporations
and local government units will necessarily reduce the JDF and the SAJF. Undoubtedly, such
situation is constitutionally infirm for it impairs the Courts guaranteed fiscal autonomy and
erodes its independence.

-Speaking for the Court, then Associate Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato S. Puno traced
the history of the rule-making power of this Court and highlighted its evolution and
development in Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice:

Under the 1935 Constitution, the power of this Court to promulgate rules concerning
pleading, practice and procedure was granted but it appeared to be co-existent with
legislative power for it was subject to the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement.
Thus, its Section 13, Article VIII provides:

Sec. 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules
shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify
substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby
repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme
Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter or
supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the admission to the
practice of law in the Philippines.

The said power of Congress, however, is not as absolute as it may appear on its surface. In
In re Cunanan, Congress in the exercise of its power to amend rules of the Supreme Court
regarding admission to the practice of law, enacted the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953 which
considered as a passing grade, the average of 70% in the bar examinations after July 4,
1946 up to August 1951 and 71% in the 1952 bar examinations. This Court struck down the
law as unconstitutional. In his ponencia, Mr. Justice Diokno held that x x x the disputed law
is not a legislation; it is a judgment a judgment promulgated by this Court during the
aforecited years affecting the bar candidates concerned; and although this Court certainly
can revoke these judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only
this Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may do so. Any attempt
on the part of these departments would be a clear usurpation of its function, as is the case
with the law in question. The venerable jurist further ruled: It is obvious, therefore, that
the ultimate power to grant license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this Court,
and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of permissive character, or as other
authorities say, merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license. By its ruling, this
Court qualified the absolutist tone of the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement
the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the admission to the practice of
law in the Philippines.

The ruling of this Court in In re Cunanan was not changed by the 1973 Constitution. For the
1973 Constitution reiterated the power of this Court to promulgate rules concerning
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, x x x which, however, may be repealed,
altered or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa x x x. More completely, Section 5(2)5
of its Article X provided:

x x x x x x x x x
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers.
x x x x x x x x x
(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the
admission to the practice of law, and the integration of the Bar, which, however, may be
repealed, altered, or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa. Such rules shall provide a
simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform
for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive
rights.
Well worth noting is that the 1973 Constitution further strengthened the independence of
the judiciary by giving to it the additional power to promulgate rules governing the
integration of the Bar.

The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger and more independent judiciary. Among
others, it enhanced the rule making power of this Court. Its Section 5(5), Article VIII
provides:

x x x x x x x x x
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
x x x x x x x x x
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the
Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a
simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform
for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive
rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective
unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.

The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for the first time was given
the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional
rights. The Court was also granted for the first time the power to disapprove rules of
procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most importantly, the 1987
Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement rules
concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, the power to promulgate rules of
pleading, practice and procedure is no longer shared by this Court with Congress, more so
with the Executive.
Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc vs Anti Terrorism Council
FACTS:

Before the court are 6 petitions challenging the constitutionality of RA 9372 An Act to
Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism, otherwise known as the Human
Security Act of 2007, signed into law on March 6, 2007.

Following the effectivity of the said law, petitioner herein, a non-government organization,
and Atty. Soliman, a concerned citizen, taxpayer and lawyer, filed a petition for certiorari
and prohibition. On even date and the following days, five others filed a petition for the
same.

ISSUE:

1. WON petitioners resort to certiorari is proper
2. WON petitioners have locus standi
WON petitioners can invoke the transcendental importance
WON petitioners can be conferred locus standi as they are taxpayers and citizens
3. WON petitioners were able to present an actual case or controversy
4. WON RA 9372 is vague and broad in defining the crime of terrorism

HELD & RATIO:

1. Petitioners resort to certiorari is improper

Sec. 1 of Rules of Court is clear:
Petition for certiorari.When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-
judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal,
nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person
aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings
of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice
may require.

Petitioners did not even allege with any modicum of particularity how respondents acted
without or in excess of their respective jurisdictions, or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

The power of judicial review is limited by four exacting requisites (a) there must be an
actual case or controversy; (b) petitioners must possess locus standi; (c) the question of
constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of
constitutionality must be the lis mota of the case.

In the present case, the dismal absence of the first two requisites, which are the most
essential, renders the discussion of the last two superfluous.




2. Petitioners lack locus standi

Petitioners Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network and Atty. Soliman
Santos Jr. conveniently state that the issues they raise are of transcendental
importance, which must be settled early and are of far-reaching
implications, without mention of any specific provision of RA 9372 under
which they have been charged, or may be charged. Mere invocation of
human rights advocacy has nowhere been held sufficient to clothe litigants
with locus standi. Petitioners must show an actual, or immediate danger of
sustaining, direct injury as a result of the laws enforcement. To rule
otherwise would be to corrupt the settled doctrine of locus standi, as every
worthy cause is an interest shared by the general public.

Locus standi or legal standing- a personal and substantial interest in a case
such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the
governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question on
standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the
presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of
difficult constitutional questions. (Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. The
Executive Secretary)

Transcendental public importance dispenses with the requirement that
petitioner has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct and
personal injury, cases involving the constitutionality of penal legislation
belong to an altogether different genus of constitutional litigation. (Chavez
vs. PCGG)

Petitioners have not presented any personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy. None of them faces any charge under RA 9372

Neither can locus standi be conferred upon individual petitioners
as taxpayers and citizens. A taxpayer suit is proper only when there is an exercise
of the spending or taxing power of Congress,
[28]
whereas citizen standing must rest
on direct and personal interest in the proceeding. RA 9372 is a penal statute and
does not even provide for any appropriation from Congress for its implementation,
while none of the individual petitioner-citizens has alleged any direct and personal
interest in the implementation of the law.

It bears to stress that generalized interests, albeit accompanied by the assertion of a
public right, do not establish locus standi. Evidence of a direct and personal interest
is key.

3. Petitioners fail to present an actual case or controversy

Judicial power operates only when there is an actual case or controversy.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government.

An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is
appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, lest the
decision of the court would amount to an advisory opinion.

Courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest,
however intellectually challenging. The controversy must be justiciabledefinite and
concrete, touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. In
other words, the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a
legal right, on the one hand, and a denial thereof on the other hand; that is,
it must concern a real and not merely a theoretical question or issue. There
ought to be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief
through a decree conclusive in nature, as distinguished from an opinion advising
what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts. (Information Technology
Foundation of the Philippines v. COMELEC)

Prevailing American jurisprudence allows adjudication on the merits when an
anticipatory petition clearly shows that the challenged prohibition forbids the
conductor activity that a petitioner seeks to do, as there would then be a
justiciable controversy.

The possibility of abuse in the implementation of RA 9372 does not avail to take the
present petitions out of the realm of the surreal and merely imagined. Such
possibility is not peculiar to RA 9372 since the exercise of any power granted by law
may be abused. Allegations of abuse must be anchored on real events before
courts may step in to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable.

4. Doctrines of void-for-vagueness and overbreadth find no application in the present
case since these doctrines apply only to free speech cases; and that RA 9372
regulates conduct, not speech.

Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the
crime of terrorism
[46]
under RA 9372 in that terms like widespread and extraordinary fear
and panic among the populace and coerce the government to give in to an unlawful
demand are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the
prohibited acts.

A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad
because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech.

The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech
cases. . They cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute.

Estarija vs Ranada

The powers of the Ombudsman are not merely recommendatory. His office was
given teeth to render this constitutional body not merely functional but also
effective. Under Republic Act No. 6770 and the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman
has the constitutional power to directly remove from government service an erring
public official other than a member of Congress and the Judiciary.

Edgardo V. Estarija was the Harbor Master of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Port of
Davao, Sasa, Davao City. As such, he issued the necessary berthing permit for all ships that
docked in the Davao Port. In an administrative complaint for gross misconduct against him,
it was alleged that he had been demanding money for the approval and issuance of berthing
permits and for monthly contributions from the Davao Pilots Association, Inc. (DPAI). The
complaint also alleged that in 1998, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) caught
Estarija in possession of the marked money used to entrap the latter.

The Ombudsman ordered Estarijas preventive suspension and filed a criminal case against
him for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Subsequently, the Ombudsman in the administrative case, found Estarija guilty of
dishonesty and grave misconduct and dismissed him from government service with
forfeiture of all leave credits and retirement benefits. In his motion for reconsideration,
Estarija claimed that his dismissal was unconstitutional since the Ombudsmans
administrative authority is merely recommendatory and that Rep. Act No. 6770 was also
unconstitutional because it gives the Office of the Ombudsman additional powers that are
not provided for in the Constitution. The Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration,
which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The appellate court held that the attack on the
constitutionality of Rep. Act No. 6770 was belated, having been made only in the motion for
reconsideration of the decision of the Ombudsman, and that Estarija failed to overcome the
presumption of constitutionality in favor of Rep. Act No. 6770.

In this petition for review on certiorari, Estarija contends that he cannot be liable for grave
misconduct because he did not commit extortion as he was merely prodded by Adrian
Cagata, an employee of the DPAI, to receive the money and that it makes no sense why he
would extort money in consideration of the issuance of berthing permits since the signing of
berthing permits is only ministerial on his part. He also maintains that Rep. Act No. 6770 is
unconstitutional because the Ombudsman has only the powers enumerated under Section
13, Article XI of the Constitution, which powers do not include the power to directly remove,
suspend, demote, fine, or censure a government official. According to him, the
Ombudsmans power is merely to recommend the action to the officer concerned. The
Solicitor General maintains otherwise, arguing that the framers of the 1987 Constitution did
not intend to spell out, restrictively, each act which the Ombudsman may or may not do,
since the purpose of the Constitution is to provide simply a framework within which to build
the institution.

ISSUES:
1.) Whether or not there is substantial evidence to hold Estarija liable for dishonesty and
grave misconduct;
2.) Whether or not the power of the Ombudsman to directly remove, suspend, demote, fine,
or censure erring officials is constitutional

RECENT JURISPRUDENCE POLITICAL LAW

HELD:
The petition is DENIED.
Estarija is liable for dishonesty and grave misconduct. Estarija did not deny that he went to
the DPAI office to collect, and that he actually received, the money which he demanded
from the DPAI as monthly contribution. Since there was no pending transaction between the
PPA and the DPAI, he had no reason to go to the latters office to collect any money. Even if
he was authorized to assist in the collection of money due the agency, he should have
issued an official receipt for the transaction, but he did not do so.
The powers of the Ombudsman are not merely recommendatory

In passing Rep. Act No. 6770, the Congress deliberately endowed the Ombudsman with the
power to prosecute offenses committed by public officers and employees to make him a
more active and effective agent of the people in ensuring accountability in public office.
Moreover, the legislature has vested the Ombudsman with broad powers to enable him to
implement his own actions. Lastly, the Constitution gave Congress the discretion to give the
Ombudsman other powers and functions.

The Constitution does not restrict the powers of the Ombudsman in Sec. 13, Art. XI of the
1987 Constitution, but allows the legislature to enact a law that would spell out the powers
of the Ombudsman. Through the enactment of Rep. Act No. 6770, specifically Sec. 15, par.
3, the Congress gave the Ombudsman such powers to sanction erring officials and
employees, except members of Congress and the Judiciary. The powers of the Ombudsman
are not merely recommendatory. His office was given teeth to render this constitutional
body not merely functional but also effective.

Thus, under Rep. Act No. 6770 and the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman has the
constitutional power to directly remove from government service unerring public official
other than a member of Congress and the Judiciary.

Moldex Realty, Inc vs HLURB
Planters Products, Inc vs Fertiphil Corporation
FACTS: Petitioner PPI and respondent Fertiphil are private corporations incorporated under
Philippinelaws, both engaged in the importation and distribution of fertilizers, pesticides and
agriculturalchemicals.Marcos issued Letter of Instruction (LOI) 1465, imposing a capital
recovery component of Php10.00 perbag of fertilizer. The levy was to continue until
adequate capital was raised to make PPI financiallyviable. Fertiphil remitted to the Fertilizer
and Pesticide Authority (FPA), which was then remitted to thedepository bank of PPI.
Fertiphil paid P6,689,144 to FPA from 1985 to 1986.After the 1986 Edsa Revolution, FPA
voluntarily stopped the imposition of the P10 levy. Fertiphildemanded from PPI a refund of
the amount it remitted, however PPI refused. Fertiphil filed a complaintfor collection and
damages, questioning the constitutionality of LOI 1465, claiming that it was
unjust,unreasonable, oppressive, invalid and an unlawful imposition that amounted to a
denial of due process.PPI argues that Fertiphil has no locus standi to question the
constitutionality of LOI No. 1465 because itdoes not have a "personal and substantial
interest in the case or will sustain direct injury as a result of its enforcement." It asserts
that Fertiphil did not suffer any damage from the imposition becauseincidence of the levy
fell on the ultimate consumer or the farmers themselves, not on the sellerfertilizer
company.
ISSUE: Whether or not Fertiphil has locus standi to question the constitutionality of LOI No.
1465.
RULING: Fertiphil has locus standi because it suffered direct injury from the enforcement of
LOI No. 1465. It paid thePhp10.00 levy imposed for every bag of fertilizer sold on the
domestic market. It may be true that Fertiphil has passed some or all of the levy to the
ultimate consumer but that does not disqualify it from attacking the constitutionality of the
LOI or from seeking a refund. The fact of payment is sufficient injury to Fertiphil. Even
assuming arguendo that there is no direct injury, locus standi must apply. The issues raised
are of paramount public importance and involve not only the constitutionality of a tax law
but more importantly, the use of taxes for public purpose.
Castro vs Deloria
In Re: Undated Letter of Mr. Louis C. Biraogo, Petitioner in Biraogo vs Nograles
and Limkaichong
RE: EM No. 03-010- Order of the First Division of COMELEC dated August 15, 2013,
A.M. No. 03-8-22 SC
Facts:
On 10 September 2003, the First Division bf the Commission Elections (COMELEC)
promulgated a Resolution in EM Nos. 03-010 & 03-011,
[1]
cralaw which disposed thus:
"WHEREFORE, for the reasons given, this Commission may be
persuaded to pronounce the existence of sufficient grounds to declare
respondents in contempt of this Commission and accordingly impose the
proper penalty. Nevertheless, we are constitutionally enjoined from doing so
without respondents first going through the process of impeachment.
"As prayed for by Petitioner Rodolfo T. AIbano III and Intervenor
Rodrigo B. Gutang, let [a] copy of this resolution be forwarded [to] the House
of Representatives.
"However, in the light of the foregoing discussion, we find the filing of
the present petitions premature because of the authoritative doctrine that
impeachable officers must first be removed from office by impeachment
before any punitive measure may be imposed against them. Consequently,
the actions being untimely filed, as explained by the Supreme Court, the
Petitions for Indirect Contempt deserve nothing less than outright dismissal.
Let the above-captioned cases be, as they are hereby ordered, DISMISSED.
"SO ORDERED."

On 26 August 2003, prior to the promulgation of the above Resolution of the COMELEC's
First Division, this Court en banc issued its own Resolution, quoted in full as follows:
"Acting on the Order of the Commission on Elections dated August 15,
2003 signed by Presiding Commissioner Rufino SB. Javier of the Comelec
First Division addressed to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and Associate
Justices Josue N. Bellosillo, Reynato S. Puno and Artemio V. Panganiban,
sending them copies of Petition's for Indirect Contempt filed against them in
the Commission by the Malay Democrats of the Philippines (signed by Ma.
Linda Olaguer Montayre), Rodolfo T. Albano III and Rodrigo B. Gutang, and
advising them that they may, if they so desire, send to (the) Commission
within a reasonable time their observation or comment on the afore-
enumerated pleadings to help the Commission in intelligently disposing of
them, the Court RESOLVED (1) to treat it as an administrative matter
cognizable by the Courts en banc as it affects the entire Court, and (2.) to
inform the Commission that the subject matter of the Petitions involves a,
review of the final decision and/or official actions of this Court in G.R. Nos.
147589 and 147613, June 26, 2001 (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party
vs. commission on Elections, et al.), a review that is, unquestionably beyond
the jurisdiction of the Commission. Under the Constitution and pursuant to
the principle of separation of powers, decisions, orders and official actions of
the Supreme Court and its Members cannot be reviewed, passed upon,
modified, much less reversed by any department, agency or branch of
government, whether directly or indirectly under any guise whatsoever.
Accordingly, the Petitions for Indirect Contempt deserve nothing less than
outright dismissal.
"SO ORDERED"

While this Court does not fault the COMELEC's First Division for outrightly DISMISSING the
Petitions for Contempt, it cannot let the "reasons given" therefor pass unchallenged and
uncorrected. These reasons were proffered without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion, in clear contravention of the Constitution and the above-quoted Resolution.
In its 38-page Resolution, the COMELEC First Division basically insinuates two points as
follows:
(1) that it possesses the power to hold in contempt the Chief
Justice and some Associate Justices for their participation and
vote in decisions and orders of this Court, which allegedly
interfered with or impeded the proceedings of the Commission;
and
(2) that it had in fact determined the "existence of sufficient
grounds to declare respondents in contempt of [the]
Commission and to 'impose the proper penalty," were it not for
the fact that the Justices were impeachable officers who "must
first be removed from office by impeachment before any
punitive measure may be imposed against them."
Issue: WON the Court can be held in contempt for any, decision, order
or official action they issue
Held: No.
Response of the Supreme Court:
First, the Commission has no. jurisdiction to hold the Court or any of its Members in
contempt for any, decision, order or official action they issue. Initially, the COMELEC's First
Division and its three signatory Commissioners openly conceded that, indeed, they did not
have any power to review, alter or reverse such act. Yet, it did pass upon them in its
Resolution and concluded thereafter that the "June 6, 2001 Decision, Order of October 8,
2002, and Resolution dated February 18, 2003 restrained the COMELEC from performing its
constitutional duties and prerogatives." That restraint allegedly constituted contempt of the
Commission.

Verily, under Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution "[j]udicial power includes the duty of
the courts of justice x x x to, determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government." More specifically, Article. IX, Section 7 of the
Constitution grants the Supreme Court the authority to pass upon on certiorari "any
decision, order or ruling" of the COMELEC and other constitutional commissions.

True, the COMELEC -- along with the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Civil Service
and the, Ombudsman -- is a constitutionally created body with constitutionally mandated
functions. However, as already stated, the actions of all such constitutional, bodies are
subject to" certiorari review by the Supreme Court as was done in G.R. Nos. 147589 and
147613. Thus, the Court may intervene, strike down or modify COMELEC's actions without
itself incurring any liability for contempt; whether its Justices happen to be impeachable
officers or not if the Supreme Court (or its Members) can be held liable for contempt for
official actions, then it would cease to be "supreme" in its task of interpreting the law and
would become subordinate to whichever agency claims the power to cite the Court or its
Members for contempt.
Second, The COMELEC's notion that impeachable officers cannot be held in contempt is
palpably incorrect or at least misleading. Clearly, the COMELEC has no reciprocal
constitutional power to pass upon the actions of this Court or its Members Hence, the
Commission has absolutely no authority to hold them in contempt as an incident of its
inexistent power of review. Even more clearly, it has no right to recriminate or sulk when its
imprudent actions are reversed, or its Members held in contempt for their rash actions.
As to the First division's reckless innuendo that. COMELEC Commissioners are exempt' from
criminal prosecution and thus from the criminal aspects of contempt, they should read De.
Venecia vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 130240, February 5, 2002), People vs. Jalosjos (381
Phil. 6901, February .3, 2000), Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan; (363 Phil. 605, March 8,
1999), Paredes, vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 118354, August 8, 1995), and Martinez vs.
Morfe (44 SCRA 22, March 24, 1972). In those Decisions, lawmakers are not totally exempt
from criminal proceedings; how then can the First Division Commissioners pretend to be
more special than they?
Third, under the doctrine of separation of powers, the three major branches of government
-- the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial -- are coequal and coordinate with each
other. But none may interfere with, review or pass upon the exclusive powers vested in
each of them by the Constitution. Specifically, not even the other two great branches of
government may reverse or modify decisions and orders of the Supreme Court in given case
-- not the President, not Congress much less the COMELEC.
But, as part of the system of checks and balances, if. Congress does not agree with the
Court's interpretation of a law, it may repeal, modify or amend the statute; but it cannot
directly overturn the decision or hold the magistrates writing or voting thereon liable for
contempt or for any administrative, criminal, civil or any other liability. On the other hand,
the President may appoint justices who may change the interpretation in the future. But no
act of Congress or the President may alter a final and executory decision of this Court.
While the COMELEC is given specific powers and functions by the Constitution, the
Commission does not have the same level and standing as the three great branches of
government. Hence, erroneous and whimsical are all pretentions of equality, with those
three, as unabashedly propositioned directly or indirectly -- in the COMELEC Order of 10
September 2003
Fourth citing the Separate Opinions of Justices Jose C. Vitug and, Vicente V. Mendoza in
the same cases (G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613), the COMELEC's First division peremptorily
and erroneously charges the Chief Justice and the concerned Associate Justices with
"judicial legislation" allegedly constituting contempt. To begin with, the, dissenting Justices,
particularly Justice Vitug who is still a sitting Member, merely said that the ponencia "x x x
may unwittingly be crossing the limits of judicial legislation." The Dissent advisedly used the
words "may" and "unwittingly," but the First Division deviously misinterpreted these terms
to mean a positive charge of judicial lawmaking.
Fifth the COMELEC'S First Division ruled that in the same cases (G.R. Nos. 147589 and 1
4761 3), the Court had allegedly degraded the Commission by making the latter a mere
recommendatory body" and thus deprived it of its constitutional powers to enforce election
laws. Again, this is pure legal heresy.
Clearly delineated in our Decision was the specific work remanded to the COMELEC fact-
findings It did not involve, much less impair, the normal powers and duties of the poll body.
To stress, its task of fact-finding was specific and limited, one that accrued only as a direct
result of the disposition" in the said cases. In other words, its authority in this specific
instance was coextensive only with that which, was delegated to it to implement the
Decision.
Sixth The First Division also raised a big fuss about the alleged deprivation of due process
and equal protection. Again, the Honorable Division may have overlooked the fact that the
basic requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard. The COMELEC has had
more than as just share of that opportunity. Prior to the Court's imposition of a penalty on
them, the COMELEC's Chairman and Members were asked to show cause why they should
not be cited for contempt via our rather lengthy Resolution dated December 17, 2002. And
they responded and tried vainly, it turned out in the end to justify their contumacious
actions.
Too, they were heard via their Motion for Reconsideration which, after due deliberation, was
denied by this Court. As already stated, all seven Members (including the Chairman) of the
Comelec paid the fine. Why are the three Members of, the First Division a minority in the
banc of seven now whining about their liability for contempt?
Seventh That the official actions of this Court may be commented on or even criticized is a
right granted by the Constitution. But criticism that takes the form of malicious insinuation,
brazen ridicule or capricious innuendo has no place in a formal resolution of an agency that
seeks wrongly to hold in contempt this Court's Members for issuing decisions and orders
that have allegedly interfered with its proceedings. This truism remains clear and
untrammeled in our system of government, no matter how extravagantly the Members of
the Commission First Division may regard their own intellectual capacities and how poorly
those of others. They must bear in mind that there is only one Supreme Court to which all
judicial and quasi-judicial agencies must take their bearings. By their oath of office, they are
bound to respect and obey its decisions and orders, even if they may not agree with them.
They need only to be reminded of the following dictum which, though issued by the Court
many years ago, still holds sway up to now:
"We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual, endowment. That is his
privilege. And, he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is his
misfortune. x x x (S)uch frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a
belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored
aphorism that courts are the temples of right." (Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer, 20
SCRA 441, 444, June 26, 1967)